The San Francisco 49ers took punter Mitch Wishnowsky in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Yes, a punter in the fourth round. Many are upset with the pick but make no mistake it was a quality choice.

This is simple. The 49ers de facto biggest need was punter because it was the only position the 49ers didn't have any options at on the roster. Furthermore, Wishnowsky is not just the top punter in the draft, he's the only punter worth drafting this year.

Could the 49ers have passed on him in the fourth and taken him in the fifth instead? Perhaps. He may have made it to the 10th pick in the fifth round but there was no guarantee. The risk outweighed the reward.

There aren't any quality veteran punters available. The risk of missing out on Wishnowsky was being forced to overspend on a below average punter in free agency. The 49ers didn't want to be left holding the bag. It really is that simple.

Wishnowsky is quite the prospect too. Wishnowsky was a consensus All-American in 2016 and averaged 45.7 yards on 175 punts in his college career. For a comparison, 49ers former punter Bradley Pinion, who was a fifth round selection in 2015, averaged 41.1 yards on 140 punts in college.

The 45.7 yards that Wishnowsky averaged in college is higher that the Seattle Seahawks Michael Dickson. All Dickson did in his rookie season in 2018 was be named first team All-Pro.

Wishnowsky is viewed as one of the best punter prospects in recent seasons for good reason. The 49ers couldn't wait because it was known multiple teams were interested in him. Take a look at this Jim Nagy tweet from March.


One of those west coach scouts Nagy references was the late Reggie Cobb. The long-time 49ers scout passed away recently at the age of 50. According to The Athletic's Matt Barrows, Cobb was integral in getting the 49ers to draft Wishnowsky.


The uniqueness of the 6-foot-2-inch punter goes well beyond being able to punt 45-plus yards. He played Australian Rules Football in Perth and while he's better with his right, reportedly can kick with either leg. He also ran a 4.63 second 40-yard dash. That's a tick faster than 49ers linebacker Fred Warner.

Fake punts are a big threat for the 49ers now. Take a look at how the Los Angeles Rams utilize Johnny Hekker and you'll see how the fear of a fake can affect opponents. Even if the 49ers never run a fake, the potential to do so will change how opponents have to defend punts.

At the end of the day, the 49ers got a very good punter who can handle kickoff duties and opens up the possibilities of fakes for a mid-round pick. It's not an exciting pick but it was absolutely the right pick to make.
  • Levin T. Black
  • Written by:
    A graduate of Ball State University in 2009, Levin was a full-time sports journalist for a few years until he transitioned into a more lucrative career. He began writing for Webzone in 2018 in order to scratch his journalist itch.